The Plaza Poetry Prize (20 lines max)

The Plaza Poetry Prize (20 lines max)

Judged by Lachlan McKinnon

1st prize: £1000. 2nd prize: £300. 3rd prize: £100

20 lines max.

Poems up to 20 lines. No theme. On whatever subject fascinates you. You can write less if you want to, but you have 20 lines to express yourself fully and catch the eye of our judge, Faber & Faber poet, scholar, and critic, Lachlan MacKinnon.

Lachlan was born in Aberdeen in 1956. He won an Eric Gregory Award in 1986. He published his first collection, Monterey Cyprus (Chatto & Windus) in 1988. The Coast of Bohemia (Chatto & Windus) followed in 1991. In 2003 he published The Jupiter Collisions with Faber & Faber. & Small Hours (Faber & Faber) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize in 2010. In 2011, he won a Cholmondeley Award, which he has followed up with collections Doves (Faber & Faber, 2017) and The Missing Months (Faber & Faber, 2022).

That’s 30 years of writing poetry at the highest level! To add to that, Lachlan has written books on Shakespeare and modern poetry, and a biography of Russian French novelist Elsa Triolet. He reviews regularly for the national press. He has presented academic papers, in English and French, on modern poetry and Shakespeare at conferences in both Great Britain and France and has given readings in both countries. Retired from school-teaching, he lives in Ely.

Lachlan can say more in a few lines than most novelists manage to say in their debut. If you haven’t read his work, please do, before submitting. Learn from one of the best. Then send Lachlan your poems to read. To be shortlisted in the Top 10, will get you published in The Plaza Prizes Anthology 3, and to win is worth much more than the £1,000 prize money, it’s recognition that you are mastering your art.

“The Plaza Poetry Prize 20 (lines max) is an invite to a party held in a matchbox. Can you shrink your speaker to the size of an ant? Can you not-say? Then, do come in."

Lachlan MacKinnon

The Prizes

First Prize: £1000

Second Prize: £300

Third Place: £100

Top 10

The 10 shortlisted entries will be published in The Plaza Prizes Anthology 3, which will be launched at our awards ceremony in 2025.

Terms and Conditions



  • Deadline: 30th September 2024
  • Writers can enter any number of times. (£10.00 Subsequent entry: £5.00)
  • Poems can be in any style or form, but must be in English, and written for adults.
  • Entries must be submitted online. No email submissions. In exceptional circumstances, postal entry may be accepted, as long as a cheque made out for the correct entry fee is sent to The Plaza Prizes Ltd. (Postal address is on Contact Form.)
  • Enter the correct version of your work. If you make a mistake, entry fees will not be refunded. (You will have to enter again.)


Read the rules carefully before entering the competition. Entry implies acceptance of all the rules and failure to comply will result in disqualification.

All entries are judged anonymously. Please do not include your name, address, phone number, email, website, twitter handle etc on the document or in the file name or it will be disqualified.

Entries will be disqualified if they are over the 20 line limit, and there will be no refund.

Entries must be original, entirely your own work. No co-writing. Plagiarised or AI-generated work will be disqualified, and this disqualification may extend to any future competitions. (We must now use AI to check.)

Entries must NOT have been published traditionally because we will publish the 10 shortlisted in our 3rd anthology. Self-published poems ARE eligible for entry.

Entries must NOT have won in any other competition. If your entry was long-listed or shortlisted in other competitions it IS eligible.

Simultaneous submissions are allowed but if an entry wins a prize elsewhere, is published or scheduled for future publication, prior to the date of prize giving, you must inform us to withdraw immediately. Entry fees will not be refunded.


Maximum 20 lines.


£10.00 per poem. (Subsequent entry: £5.00)

Entries must be submitted online via Submittable. No email or snail-mail submissions.


  • Entries must be readable. The title should top the first page. (Any minor formatting issues will not lead to disqualification. PLease just make sure your work is as easy to read as possible.)
  • Save as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) or PDF file with the title as the file name. Do not include your name in the file name as this will lead to disqualification.
  • Max 2MB file. Include the line count for the poem on the first page.
  • Do not add cover pages.
  • No illustrated work.


The judges’ decision is final. No individual correspondence can be entered into. Judges are unable to comment on individual entries. The Plaza Prizes reserves the right to change the judge without notice.


Copyright remains with the author, but The Plaza Prizes reserves the right to publish poems in an anthology and use extracts from any of the 10 shortlisted poems for publicity purposes.

Results & Awards

The Poetry 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize-winners will be announced on the website and social media in December 2024. The 10 short-listed entries will be published in The Plaza Prizes Anthology 3, which will be launched at our awards ceremony in October 2025.

Bursary Scheme

In 2024-2025, we will again be offering 150 FREE ENTRY BURSARIES across all our competitions to poets on low incomes, and from underrepresented groups. You can apply for a bursary if low income, class, race, age, gender, sexuality, caring responsibilities, location, disability, or mental and physical health affects your writing. We want to encourage equality to discover quality new writing from diverse voices. Keep checking our About Us page. The Bursary Scheme is NOT open all year round; to avoid overload for certain contests, we open and close schemes throughout the year.


The Plaza Prizes reserves the right to amend the rules where it deems necessary. Any changes to the rules will be posted on our website.

If you have a query about eligibility, please contact: simon@theplazaprizes.com

Enter by pressing the big orange button below.